shutterstock_112916848A Secret to Great Health

Last week a client came in and told me about a radio show she had just been listening to on her drive over. The show was talking all about some miracle product that could cure diabetes, heart disease, depression, insomnia, anxiety and a whole slew of other ailments. She said, “Whatever it is, I’ll buy it! I don’t care what it costs, I’m buying it.” Can you guess what it is?

Yes, there is a magic secret to great health. What would you do to get your hands on this secret cure? What would you be willing to pay?

Well if you’d do anything and you’re willing to pay an extreme amount of money, you’re in luck, because this miracle cure is easily accessible to everyone!

That’s right… the magic secret is…

EXERCISE!

Seriously, exercise is amazing. When my clients come to me and are unhappy, unmotivated, and depressed, one of the first things I ask them is, “Are you exercising?” The majority of them aren’t. Every single one of my clients who exercises on a regular basis is much happier and much more successful in life than my clients who don’t. Exercise is directly related to your mental health. When you exercise, you feel better about yourself and your life. I know how easy it is to be lazy or make excuses about not exercising, we’ve all done it. If you do choose to take a break from it, it’s best not to let yourself go without it for longer than two weeks at the very most.

So what will make us feel happier, healthier, and sexier?

So what will make us feel happier, healthier, and sexier? You guessed it, the miracle cure, exercise.

Exercise will:
• Increase self-confidence
• Improve mood
• Lower stress
• Help with motivation
• Decrease procrastination
• Decrease sugar cravings
• Regulate appetite and help with losing weight or maintaining weight
• Improve sleep
• Overcome diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, high cholesterol, depression, anxiety

Walking and stretching is probably the easiest way for most people to get exercise. As humans we are meant to walk but with the sheer amount of machinery and technology in our everyday lives, we have become lazy to this basic need. Just 30 minutes of walking a day can add years to your life and make you feel so much better. Stretching can help keep you limber, stand taller and feel fitter. Walking and stretching don’t need to cost you a lot of time or money either. A good pair of shoes for walking and a mat or sheet to lay on for stretching is about all you will need. So no more excuses, right?

I recently purchased a monthly class pass for Barre classes, which is an exercise program that combines ballet, pilates and yoga. I did a lot of ballet when I was younger and I’ve done a lot of yoga as an adult, so this particular combination was appealing to me. I decided that I wanted to get my money’s worth for the month and I’ve been going three times a week. Oh how I ached after the first few times, but as the weeks went by I noticed how much stronger I was while going up stairs, jogging when I was in a hurry, and how easy lifting heavy boxes had become. I also noticed that my belly was firmer because there’s so much core work involved in Barre. Because of all these little changes in my efforts to become more fit, I feel more confident in a subtle way and I definitely like it.

Tips for Successful Exercise

1. Just Move More! – while you are talking on the phone, thinking about your plans, or anytime you are sitting and could be moving. Even walking back and forth in a short space is moving your body.

2. Set a goal you want to work towards. This could be a walkathon for a cause, a bike trip, or a beach vacation. Training for this event will be a great motivator.

3. Find a time when you are most likely to make yourself exercise. First thing in the morning, lunch break, after work, or in the evenings?

4. Create a buddy plan and meet up with a friend to exercise. Encourage each other and maybe even come up with a friendly competition, like whoever logs the most exercise time gets a small award each month.

5. Stretch in your chair while working: lift your legs like you’re marching in place, lift your hands high over your head and then bend your elbows and pull them down toward your waist, bend from side to side stretching your lateral chest muscles, slowly turn your head side to side and front to back.

6. Stand at your computer and do glute squeezes and pelvic floor exercises. You can also do these while you are standing and chopping vegetables for dinner.

7. Take a movement break frequently during the day. Try a bioenergetic exercise and stand with your feet hip width apart, then bend your knees bringing your center of gravity to your belly button area. Let your arms and hands just swing loosely at your sides. Make sure your body weight is evenly distributed from the ball of your foot through your heels. Lift your toes off the floor to make sure it is, then lower your toes back down. While you are in this position bounce and swing your arms gently or walk around the room. This is a great way to get out of your head and into your body.

8. Before getting out of bed each morning: roll to one side and stretch long from toes to fingertips raised high over head and hold for 30 seconds and then roll to the other side and repeat. Then roll onto your back and lift your legs up to the ceiling, alternate flexing your ankles and point your toes several times. Lower your legs and take a nice long deep breath in and out slowly, repeat as many times as you have time for.

9. Take a work break and go for a quick walk around the block or climb some stairs.

10. Use your dog as your exercise pal and get out and walk.

11. Use a pedometer to measure your steps. Challenge yourself to add steps each day.

12. Decide on an exercise plan that includes stretching, strength training and cardio. Mix it up and try new methods.

13. Track your activity  - use an app (like See Me Get Fit or My Fitness Pal) or just good old fashioned paper.

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